General Tips Invoicing

Improved List Selection When Creating Invoices in QuickBooks

When you are creating an invoice in QuickBooks (or any order type, such as a purchase order, estimate, etc.) you will be selecting information from a dropdown list. This could be something like the customer list or item list. A common complaint is that this dropdown list has very limited information. Did you know that there was a hidden feature that makes this easier to use?

Let me use an invoice as an example. You want to select a customer, and the dropdown list shows you only the customer name. This might not be enough to locate the proper customer!

image Here’s the trick – press ctrl-L when the cursor is in the customer:job field. This will open the associated list, which in this case is the customer center. From here you have access to a lot more information about your customers.

image You can even edit the customer information if you want to change some information, such as adding a phone number, etc. Keep in mind that you can customize this list to add columns and to sort by different columns.


That’s fine, but don’t you want to get the customer into the invoice? Here is the second part of this trick – once you have selected the customer you want to work with, press ctrl-U to “use” this record in the transaction you just came from.

imageQuickBooks will take the selected customer from the list and insert it into the invoice. The ctrl-U key only works if you have reached the customer list from the invoice by using the ctrl-L key.

Note that in the customer list you can also right-click on the customer and pick Use from the menu.

image This also works when looking up an item in the item list. Put the cursor in the item code field, press ctrl-L to open the item list, locate the item, press ctrl-U to “use” the item.

image One difference here is that if you right click on the item you won’t see “Use” in the menu – you have to use the shortcut key.

This feature seems to be used throughout QuickBooks. I haven’t tested it in all locations, but I’ve not found a place where it doesn’t work, yet. In the invoice this even works with lists/fields like terms, sales rep, customer message and so forth.

I consider this to be a hidden gem – I’ve found that most QuickBooks users aren’t aware of this. Many people know about using ctrl-L to open a list, but using ctrl-U to “use” the list item is not as widely known. It resolves a fairly common complaint about QuickBooks and the limited information in the dropdown boxes.

For more shortcuts in QuickBooks see my article on QuickBooks Keyboard Shortcuts

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